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Election fever

Nick Robinson | 10:34 UK time, Tuesday, 16 December 2008

"Psst, have you heard? They're planning an election... The word is that Labour's getting loads of money from its donors... Their ad agency is buying up poster spaces and Peter Mandelson's been seen plotting with Charlie Whelan..."

parliament_203.jpgYes, Westminster has got election fever again, and at last night's Tory Christmas drinks party the fever was particularly hot.

The first of the claims made above is certainly true but the second two are hotly denied. So why the excitement? Well, this is how the argument goes.

First, things can only get worse. After all, the chancellor and Tessa Jowell let the cat out of the bag yesterday when they said the recession would be deeper here than elsewhere.

Secondly, Labour have got the Tories where they want them, portraying them as the "do-nothing nasty" party.

Thirdly, Obama comes to power in January. He is, of course, the world's biggest celebrity, a latter day saint and a supporter of Gordon's economic policies.

Barack Obama and Gordon BrownThe theory goes that what Gordon needs to do is surf the wave of Obamamania, announce some more plans to save the world, hold an emergency recession-beating budget and then invite the country to choose between his approach and that of David Cameron.

The only problem with this theory that I can find is a small matter that Labour are still behind in the latest polls. Yes, they've made progress, although that has stalled in the past couple of weeks but they are still behind.

So the prime minister would have to consider, in January let's say, whether he wishes to call an election which his opponents would present as unnecessary, opportunistic and a distraction from helping people in these difficult times, or whether, as I still suspect, he'll have no choice but to play it long.

Let's be clear though. It makes sense for his advisors to give him the choice in January if they can. I have no doubt at all that they're doing all they can to make it possible to run a winning election campaign then. I simply doubt that it is.

What's more, it makes sense for David Cameron to talk up the possibility, partly as a way of making an election less likely, and partly as a way to look like a strong and decisive leader. This is precisely what he did last time there was election fever.

Update, 12:00: David Cameron's news conference this morning could have come with the slogan "We really aren't the party of the rich". The day after calling for a day of reckoning for bankers who drove us into debt, he condemned the government's "shameful... macho posturing exercise" in threatening lone parents of pre-school children with sanctions if they don't take part in compulsorary back to work schemes.


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  • Comment number 1.

    One can only hope it's true and we'll get the chance to kick these clowns into touch earlier than expected!

    Shame that the Labour party are plotting to use Obama as a means to win votes, rather than actual responsible management of the UK (which would have won them a few more).

  • Comment number 2.

    Lets not kid ourselves, Brown has no spine, he will drag us along till 2010.

  • Comment number 3.

    -as commented on the "intriguing politics blog"...

    The Tories are getting themselves in to a real tizzy over this...

    Mandy - the Master of the Dark Arts - a Tory myth - is frightening them to death...

    I have no doubt he has booked advertising space - nothing to do with an election - most likely to get over the benefits of the PBR initiatives - many of which will hit the pockets of the old and young in January - as opposed to their "do nothing Dave"....campaign!

    My best guess for an election...late October 2009 - or - if he needs another PBR initiative - February 2010....

  • Comment number 4.

    So the prime minister would have to consider, in January let's say, whether he wishes to call an election which his opponents would present as unnecessary, opportunistic and a distraction from helping people in these difficult times,

    I disagree with the above paragraph Nick.
    How could Cameron, who is currently talking up an election, then claim it as a distraction when it is offered?
    Unless of course you meant opponents within the Labour party, in which case tell us more, the last we heard of this you told us all his opponents had gone, mainly due to the Mandy affect.

  • Comment number 5.

    Nick, I was just wondering the implications of Gordon Brown's current refusal to allow the opposition parties to consult with the civil service in all this.

    Tony Blair had said that they would be granted access to consult the civil service in January 2009 (I think), but Gordon Brown has yet to give any indication that this will be allowed to happen. Obviously, calling an election in January will not allow any time at all for the Tories and Lib Dems to consult.

    If an election is on the cards, this would surely be the worst form of gamesmanship imaginable, especially given the current economic turmoil.

    Is there any minimum period of consultation that must be allowed?

  • Comment number 6.

    '...and Peter Mandelson's been seen plotting with Charlie Whelan..."
    I heard Charlie Whelan on the radio last night. He's part of some elitist group who are opposed to the reintroduction of beaver to parts of Scotland. They believe the beaver will destroy salmon fishing. Charlie Whelan enjoys salmon fishing.
    Pass the champagne!

  • Comment number 7.


    Now release the Treasury documents to the tories as is convention.

  • Comment number 8.

    Brown? Early election? Hmm.. That sounds familiar. What are the odds on brown bottling it again?

  • Comment number 9.

    Roll on an early election, and Goodbye Gordo.

  • Comment number 10.

    Lets be clear about this. Brown's economic policies are not something he invented. They were developed by John Maynard Keynes, and they were the same economic policies which nearly bankrupted the UK in the late 70s and caused the Winter of discontent.

  • Comment number 11.

    Meanwhile, back in what the rest of us call the real world, things are getting a great deal worse.

    A General Election anytime now is likely to be treated by the public as an irriatating distraction from the grim business of economic survival.

    The politicians have let us down big-time.

    Why can't they just crawl into a hole and stay there?

  • Comment number 12.

    I think it's a case of damage limitation. Get kicked out now and save a few seats and try to prevent the tory's getting a majority; Or get oblitorated when the full effects of the downturn become apparent.

    I do know this. There is a very bleak mood in the country and people are looking, if not for all the answers, then for a little hope. Maybe a new Government would bring a feel good factor in the way it did in 97 - even if the circumstances (the economy was in a far better state then than it is now!) are very different.

    It remains to be seen whether Cameron can inspire the masses even to a fraction of the extent that Obama in the US has.

    Can't we just have Vince Cable as PM until this is all over?...

  • Comment number 13.

    Britain needs a fixed term system to stop all this distraction

  • Comment number 14.

    We are in the best position to weather the recession has been shown to be another ridiculous statement.
    The Government spending plans are now ridiculous. How can we be coming out of recession in 6 months time? If this is wrong then the PBR is wrong. Our debt position is far worse and the pound is toast.
    If the PBR is wrong then Brown is found out. He will have to go in early
    spring. Labour people who want the perfect opportunity to attack the
    Tories will want to go now for an Election where the Tories get a small
    majority. As the Tories administer the horrid medicine then the Labour
    back benches can shout nasty party. (Mandy may see an opportunity for the
    big job as Brown would have to go)

    Cameron is best with a new 5 seat Labour majority and another election in a year time when the wheels really come off.

    On what evidence do you see the money flooding into labour

  • Comment number 15.

    Please, please, let it be true.

    The country can't wait to deliver the resounding "go away, and stay away" message* that Brown and his crowd deserves.

    * (that's the polite version)

  • Comment number 16.

    Let us hope that its true. I will use my vote wisely and in tune with the rest of the country... removal of negative squandering dictators.

  • Comment number 17.

    I think the chances of the electorate looking kindly upon a government which sees an unnecessary general election as more important than managing a spiralling economy are somewhat remote.

    It might be Brown's least worst time to go to the country but that would make it look like exactly what it would be - naked opportunism.

  • Comment number 18.

    Dear Nick,

    Are you sure that GB has trouble making his mind up over an election? Is DC just stirring the pot to cause trouble? Is the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything, 42?

    I can not answer them all but what I do know is my pension is about to be cut, my council tax is goimg up and my firm is cutting back on hours worked.

    Merry Christmas.


    ps, YES

  • Comment number 19.

    They've been clearing the decks since at least October - in fact, since Mandelson returned.

    Things have so much further to fall, it's easy to see why they are doing so.

  • Comment number 20.

    So yesterday the talk was all about the "vomiting bug" that is closing hospital wards around the country. Today we have the announcement of "election fever".

    Are these two related in some way?

    Certainly there are many who are totally sick of Gordon Brown and his systemmatic destruction of the UK economy.

    Can we hope for a cure?

  • Comment number 21.

    JohnConstable @ 11

    Clarifying my own post, when I suggest that 'politicians crawl in a hole and stay there', that is really an expression of utter frustration at the sheer selfishness of these people.

    The economic situation demands that they make a concerted effort to work together to solve the problems we face.

    But there is absolutely no sign of that happening.

  • Comment number 22.

    It was at a Christmas drinks party wasn't it, Nick?

    Says it all really.

    What world do these people live in?

    The economy is in free fall, the government hasn't got a clue how to deal with it, unemployment is rising and will get worse in the New Year, asset prices are imploding and debt is exploding.

    Oh joy, just what we need, an election!

    A cut-and-run election? I think not.

    Gordon Brown is going to hold onto the architrave at No.10 with his hard bitten finger-nails for as long as he can.

    He reckons that by 2010 the recession will be over and once again `things can only get better'. More fool him!

  • Comment number 23.

    I didn't expect an answer the following day Nick. Kudos to you

    Better start asking some questions about clarification, putting in freedom of information requests to actually see what is happening.

    Lets infuse the economy with an election, at least some folks will make a killing from all the advertising spend and flesh pressing.

    ...and I think you miss the trick, maybe Crash doesn't want to win

  • Comment number 24.

    Give youe head a shake Nick. The only people obssessed with Obama are you lot in the media.

    Most people in Britain just want rid of your lord and master Flash Gordon.

    Incidentally, will you still be biased towards Labour once they're out of power, or do you just bow and scrape to whoever is at the top at the time?

  • Comment number 25.

    Please let it be true!
    And I thought we would have to wait until May/June 2010 to get rid of this appalling, bullying, deceitful, incompetent and brutally partisan Labour party interest before country, government.

    My prayers have been answered. Thanks God!

  • Comment number 26.

    There is some sense talking about an early election. Labour have had a great time throwing our money back at us as if they are giving us something, when in reality they are only electioneering at our expense on a truly gargantuan scale. We have all been watching "Action Man Brown" stride the world saving economies. I dare say that kind of politics will win votes too.

    He will want to surf on the tide of goodwill from his Christmas and New Year giveaways and avoid taking responsibility for the looming catastrophe ahead - as long as he is there he can continue to massage the figures and lie to us all - so he will want to stay on for a while yet.

    I do think he still believes that this course of action is right, even though all the pointers are against him.

    Has the government really taken the weak pound into consideration when they forcast what inflation will be - or deflation as the BofE is now fearing. All those cheap imported goods that artificially kept the CPI low will soon be costing more, I would expect to see inflation continue upwards, not drop.

    And how long will it be before the unions start to ask for higher wages again? And at that point we will see the spiralling inflation we had in the '70s.

    And Labour will not know what to do - again.

    We are heading for recession, inflation, low interest rates, savings wasted, pensions bust, strikes and a huge national debt. This is Brownian economics.

    No doubt in his memoirs "Waiting for Gordo", or possibly "Gord Almighty", he will say that his undoing was the credit crunch. No Gord, your undoing is your flagrant arrogance.

  • Comment number 27.

    i dont think so the only reason GB would go to the polls is if he is forced to by his own party.

    Labour MP's are unlikely to do that because they will lose out on fat pension rights if not re elected.

    Although it would answer the question why my own MP has suddenly been seen locally kissing babies etc etc after years of doing nothing,an hes got a 10000 majority.

    I do hope its true,but i just cant see it.

  • Comment number 28.

    Cameron will be dreading an early election - after all, most of his 'look like they've just had a good lunch' front bench have still got plenty of pounds to shed before they can be let loose on the electorate.

  • Comment number 29.

    The polls, the polls, it's all in the polls.

    These people really are ditherers.

    Still waiting for the newlaour spin machine to tell us how to interpret this latest mumbo jumbo from the government information ministry.

    When is PR going to die the death it deserves? It's responsible for more raised expectations and subsequent disappointment than the British motor industry.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 30.

    There is absolutely no chance Brown will call an election in January, the most depressing month of the year when households will be low after the Christmas period and looking at how they will cut back for the year ahead, many of whom have the prospect of unemployment on the horizon. Moreover traditionally it is known that the Labour vote is harder to get out in the cold dark months than during the summer.

    He can't wait until after the end of summer either. The government has staked their political future on a fiscal stimulus pushing the economy out of recession by the end of the second quarter in 2009. Can you imagine Brown or Darling in October next year having to announce that the economy is not out of recession, because of that they are borrowing even more than their worst forecasts, which means they must announce more tax increases? The election would be an absolute landslide.

    No, no, no Brown can't have that happening. He'll go in Spring.

  • Comment number 31.

    I was so happy last time
    waiting for my calling,
    to tell me where exactly
    I should go to do my polling.

    Alas the opportunity
    never arose
    The country's first chance to give
    Brown a bloody nose

    He watched all the polls
    and he rallied his MPs
    Until some Northern Rock customers said
    "Can we have all our money please"

    A man of the people
    Mr Brown he was not
    for this Great Leader
    he never smiled or laughed a lot

    And so 14 months on
    from the election that never was
    we have the campaign that no party
    can afford now because

    the Credit Crunch has wiped out
    the Party Donors all round
    And who would bet on politics
    when there's a run on the pound?

    So a distraction is created
    All Christmas all we'll hear is
    'Who are you going to vote for..
    in the New Year?'

    But in January 09
    when he reads the new polls
    He'll cry "I need a real mandate for change..
    or so I've been told"

  • Comment number 32.


    You know what, you've got a point. I'd vote for Vince if he went for it.

  • Comment number 33.

    #11 johnconstable

    Great post - completely agree - an election in feb when most people will be working out how to save money, tighten their budgets, and save their businesses would be nothing other than an irritation.

    Given that we know things are going to get worse and true to the current governements form there are further mess-ups coming to light every day (knife statistic fiddles, pension overpayments, VAT cut) it could go the other way and the tory's romp it.

    I think it should wait until at least May/June, when we know what the real prediciment of this country is, and what mess labour have left us in.

    I will be voting Lib Dem anyway, as I think Vince cable has been outstanding over the last 6 months.

  • Comment number 34.

    I would be really surprised if an election is being considered for the spring the risk of unexpected economic news like 1970 is too great. We all know what happened then Edward Heath won (to Harold Wilson's surprise) and we had the 3 day week, loads of power cuts and inflation going through the roof.

    I am always worried about people who write 'get rid of the current government' without fully understanding what the opposition parties would do.

    It's more important now than ever that we all understand the consequences of voting one way or another.

    At the moment I do not believe we know enough about what the opposition will do to make a sound judgement on this.

    Come on David tell us what you would do if you were PM tomorrow. Give us some well thought out and costed proposals.

    Then we can all make a decision based on facts not spin.

  • Comment number 35.

    typical! Brown maybe calling for an election when most of us will be distracted by the worry of living and keeping our homes. He will slip in the back door again then, very opportunistic of him. what a snake. please please please people vote this govenment out! there has to be better way other than labour.

  • Comment number 36.

    Nick, love the blogs but lets be clear - you've been immersed with these guys so much you can't avoid politician speak anymore. Try getting through a report without using "Let's be clear though" or "I want to make one thing very clear"

    sorry, its just a particular favorite of mine at the moment, I always imagine Gordon or David sitting down with their spin team - "Now remember, rather than getting into any real facts, just to make it sound as though we and only we know what we're talking about, get in a quick.. lets be clear.."

  • Comment number 37.

    If Labour want to go for an election in Februrary then the polls have to show them being at worst the largest party in a hung parliament. If Cameron ends up with the most MP's then convention and precedent says that Labour have in effect lost the confidence of the electorate and should step down. There would be political risks for the LibDem's in propping up a rejected government. The majority of the polls show that the Tories will be the largest party at least. Having the campaign in Jan/Feb rruns the risk of a sudden run of bad economic news coming in the campaign. Also people are in a pretty wretched mood in January as the Christmas bills land on the doormat, in short not a good time to be running an election campaign.

    I'm not sure they've got the scope for a "recession beating emergency budget." The PBR was hugely oversold and turned out to be a damp squib. They've no room to borrow more for tax cuts as the levels of debt could cause an all out run on the pound. Obama can afford a trillion dollar stimulus package as America is a much larger economy with a far more diversified industrial base. America can sustain levels of budget deficit and national debt that would cause most economies to crumple like paper. Far from endorsing Gordo's approach, Obama's stimulus could well make his look like peeing in the wind!

  • Comment number 38.

    Brown doesn't have the bottle. He'll hold out as long as possible, and maybe even say that times are too difficult to hold an election and he'll have to stay for another 5 years to save us all.
    This is spin, and I'm sure the tories are ready. I know the country is ready to elect another government.

    Now I wonder what the politics of this lost pensions money is? And what about the botched cost cut at the ministry of transport? Does the general population see this as another example of government waste and inability to do anything right? I'm sure they do and will deliver the verdict when we get the chance.

  • Comment number 39.

    Please stop talking about an election just get on with it and sooner the better, lets see what happens... and hopefully this lot will be kicked out.

    They are incompetent, look at the lost data, the 10p tax fiasco, the overpaid pensions and the Transport Department plan that landed the taxpayer with a £81m bill when hoping to save about £57m there are many other examples.

    This lot can't and is not fit to govern and makes novices look intelligent.

    What the hell is going on for goodness sake they are as incompetence as incompetence can get - don't they know how to look after money?

  • Comment number 40.

    Bring it on!

  • Comment number 41.

    Given that Labour have denied that the are going to call an election, what a pointless blog post.
    Secondly, that the recession is deeper than first thought is hardly a 'cat out of the bag' - we were already aware of that fact.
    Also, if Labour is still behind in the polls then they don't have the conservatives where they want them.
    No party will suceed in 'portraying' the other as anything unless political commentators repeat or invent these portrayals.
    For Britain's most high profile political commentator, you don't half talk drivel.

  • Comment number 42.

    @#14, PortcullisGate, I agree. With the Pre-Budget Report promising growth in Q3 and Q4 of 2009, and Labour being screwed when that doesn't appear -- and it won't -- Brown has little choice but to try and be elected for the first time before then.

  • Comment number 43.

    Bring. It. On.

    He bottled it last time far further ahead in the polls, some 9% ahead.

    This time he is 6-9% behind and that after his 'miracle' budget.

    A budget that didn't work.
    A bank re-capitalisation that isn't working.
    A Pound at parity with the Euro and sinking.

    Osbourne was right, bad Labour policies have caused a run on Sterling.

    And who said a weak currency is caused by a weak economy led by a weak government?

    I expect to see that rammed home by the Tories.

    As for 'do nothing' Tories, yeah, Labour are still pinching their policies now and probably will do so in their manifesto.

    Besides that, what a stupid retort, what can the Tories actually do? They aren't in government. All they can do is give their ideas, which Gordon then duly steals.

    As for after Christmas, a miserable time of the year and a miserable year with another in prospect.

    Brown cannot cast a vision of hope, Cameron can.

    I feel if Brown bottles this again, we, the public will kick him out whether he likes it or not.

    And the shameful edifice of the BBC will be taken with it.

    Can we do it?

    Yes we can!

  • Comment number 44.

    God help us. If he wins (and I doubt it) I will start packing my bags. The good thing if Brown does win is he can clear up the incredible mess he made himself as opposed to expecting it to be done by the Tories (as failing Labour governments always do).

    Call it Gordon. I doubt you will but the humiliation will be good to watch. Should they win, you can honestly say goodbye to Britain now. It will be a distant memory come the election after that. (And I will be long gone by then, having moved to a country that doesn't use its kitty to win votes).

  • Comment number 45.

    Nick. You say, in consecutive paragraphs no less :

    First, things can only get worse. After all, the chancellor and Tessa Jowell let the cat out of the bag yesterday when they said the recession would be deeper here than elsewhere.

    Secondly, Labour have got the Tories where they want them, portraying them as the "do-nothing nasty" party.

    Point 1. See any mismatch between the two ?
    Point 2. Re the second para., is not here a difference between deciding where they want the Tories, rather than seeking to portray them as such ? Why do you proceed on the basis that the two-part portrayl has suceeded ?

    As to the chances of an early election, if it happens it will be an even stronger signal of how bad things are in the economy than the plunging pound - which is saying something.

    On the one hand, going for it would be a gamble and Brown's history has shown than, politically, he is more Mr Cautious than Mr Gambler.

    On the other, he has taken a pretty big punt with his borrow big strategy and we did used to think he was Mr Prudence.

    The only thing of which we can be certain is that, like all of his predecessor PMs, the decision will be based on party interest, not national interest.

    Fixed term parliaments have some of the downsides of the existing set-up and one or two added - eg lame duck governments towards the end of the period - but probably less bad than the status quo.

  • Comment number 46.

    Labour could really clear up here. A rise in recent poll ratings, ahead in the polls in terms of who's more trusted on the economy...

    A few more sound measures in the spring to prove the government is on people's side and the election is there for the taking.

    A win under these circumstances would send the tories reeling for another 12 years. Bring it on!

  • Comment number 47.

    That would be just the opportunity I have been waiting for to reward Gordon handsomely for the cack handed way he has managed the economy for the last 11 years.

    Just so there is no doubt here -I don't want Gordon Brown as PM any more - period.

    If I have to vote Conservative to do that I will do that even though I think my Labour MP , Paul Flynn, deserves his post.

    So it matters not one whit when he goes to the country, he will to be able to count on my vote.

  • Comment number 48.

    What a peculiar outcome, Brown riding a wave of optimism that we'll soon have a new Government, all the way to triumph in the Polls...not even George Orwell could dream that one up. With the NeoCons claiming to be somewhere left of centre, and Putin's Russia making out the Skinhead tendency isn't as bad as all that, what odds the Monster Raving Loonies get to hold the balance of power? Ian Hislop, all is forgiven!

  • Comment number 49.

    Brown is out at the next election (if he doesn't step down before) and he (and everyone) knows it - after a decade of backstabbing to get the job, he is going to hang on to the last possilble moment (and if he can cancel elections he will).

    The talk now is a distraction to deflect the media from the complete screwup that is labour party financial policy.

    p.s. Any update on mandleson/oleg/eu ?

  • Comment number 50.

    Probably shortly before December 2015. If you can do what this bunch have been up to in Parliament, there's no reason not to postpone the election until after the crisis is over.

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    I disagree with those who say that an election would be a distraction now.

    The economy is in a complete mess and the main parties have very different ideas on how best to act going forward - spend/borrow under Labour or try to get through without adding massively to existing debt for the Tories. The electorate should be given the option to choose one of these strategies - even if they choose the wrong one and vote in again the clowns responsible for getting the debt to this level in the first place!

  • Comment number 53.

    Brown will no doubt bottle it again, leading to Cameron pointing out he is a ditherer. Gordon will then dither untill 2010, when someone tells him he has to have an election, and then he'll probably dither on whether it should be the end of April or the begining of May....

  • Comment number 54.

    the reason is obvious.......the penny has finally dropped with gord-elf us that he is in no position to do anything further to help the the words of the scots guy in dads army...........we're doooomed!

  • Comment number 55.

    So there'll be a lot more World Leader get togethers for photo calls and sound bites then.....

    .... all returning to their countries to explain that they've had a role in saving the world ....

    ... all using this crisis to save their jobs!

    ... and yet none of them seem to have played a role in getting us in this mess....

    'Teflon Gordon' has a ring to it.....

  • Comment number 56.

    Where are the Labour rebuttall Unit people. Read between the lines of their posts to try and figure out which way the wind is blowing on the election.

    I want to know why Vince was fed the pension scoop?

    And to answer a point above.
    If Cameron spells out what he would do would it get reported? I don't see any scandle about being pictured with a man who sold his shares without telling his friends in the press today do you?

    So yesterdays blog was just a spoiler piece. Chance of hearing what Cameron actually says is nill.

  • Comment number 57.


    I will put money on there being a spring election.

    The troops will be coming out of Iraq, the final retreat from a disastrous fiasco.

    Afghanistan, we will piggy back on the Americans, we will be sending in the courageous SAS, they'll sort it out.

    The economy, again your analysis is consistent with my own thoughts, it will be on the back of the Obama 100 days.

    However, it will result in a hung parliament, no clear winner. Labour and the liberal democrats will go into coalition, with Vince Cable as chancellor.

    I don't think there is much more to say until Cameron hurls his metaphorical shoe across the chamber during PMQs. No doubt Brown will not answer one question, unless they are planted ones. He will also repeat again his sadness over the loss of our soldiers in foreign wars. How many times must he say this, the number of times he repeats it it would seem that our losses are getting as bad as the Somme.

    There is no purpose in announcing it again tomorrow, he really does want to get the Tory Churchill vote. A great war leader, a great economic leader, a man for our times.

  • Comment number 58.

    Wonderful, it will be good to see the back of (we're nasty too) New Labour!

    Not so great to see the Conservatives back in power, however, if we're all suffering enough perhaps we won't let them stay in too long.

    It's perfectly ridiculous that any single party should have a monopoly on this country for more than two terms.

  • Comment number 59.

    An election might not suit Brown but others in the Labour party stand to benefit.

    If things are not going to get better then labour will lose anyway. Better to stay close to the Conservatives in terms of seats than be hammered and face 15 years of opposition. A lot of MPs who might hang on to their seats now would surely lose them in 2010.

    For Milliband this could be the best possible late Christmas present. See off Gordon and become opposition leader against a government that will be forced to make unpopular decisions. Become PM just as the economy is on the up.

    It could be a good election for Labour (but not Brown) to lose.

  • Comment number 60.

    Oh dear more ping-pong politics.
    I, along with a lot of people to judge by the comments on this blog, am totally*issed off by the politicians.
    Our system needs a complete rethink and the introduction of proportional representation as soon as possible. That way we might just get some balanced viewpoints in Westminster.

    Perhaps a new age Guy Fawkes might arise. Just a thought!

  • Comment number 61.

    Sorry, I don't believe a word of it. There is no way we're going to have an election next year.

    Yes, it may be true that things will be far worse in 2010, but Brown knows that he's not going to win an election next year either. He may think he's saved the world, but surely even someone as out-of-touch as he is must realise that no-one else believes him. The only difference the timing makes is that he can call an election in 2009 and lose narrowly, or call one in 2010 and lose comprehensively. Either way he loses.

    Brown waited 10 years to be PM. Now he's got the job, he'll want to hold onto it for as long as possible. And that, in practice, means delaying the next election and his inevitable defeat for as long as possible.

  • Comment number 62.

    This is clearly a diversionary tactic away from the real news:

    Oh, dear. the record £500bn bank bail put is not enough.

    What Dame Shrit and the Dear Leader got their numbers wrong? how can this be? Thye know everything and we know nothing.

    This government will do anything to shift the can you possibly be behind in the opinion polls having spent a record amount of money? Yet this still isn;t enough. So now you have the unpalatabel prospect of making yourself even more unpopular by spending even more taxpayers money.

    Wehn are they going to realise that public spending needs to be cut? Public sector pensions need to be cut. Public sector waste needs to be cut?

    Call an election if you dare.

  • Comment number 63.

    I think the electorate are now owed the opportunity to vote again. I know its early, but it is appropriate...

    I don't actually care who is returned. What is important to me is that we've had the really big, very important national debate about what direction we should pursue in order to get out of the recession, and that we have voted upon it.

    Things the Government are deciding now were never the part of any manifesto and they'll impact upon us for decades. An election now could actually be heralded as responsible Government and democracy in action. All credit to Labour if they actually go ahead and call an election, despite the obvious risks to their continuing in power...

    When we've voted, hopefully everybody in Parliament can get on with the job of implementing it, co-operating for a change, as that will be very important in the near future...

    If the vote is out of the way, there would be no immediate need for Parliament to be an electioneering chamber. It could return to being a debating chamber again...

    My view is that if the vote means we incur a trillion quids worth of debt, so be it. If it means we are more careful about debt, but more goes to the wall in the short-term, so be it. That's democracy in action...

    But the media will have a duty to report the debate accurately, and not get involved in personality politics or any sort of bias.

    The best election campaign might be one that didn't actually feature the party leaders very much, we know enough about them by now.

    Its everybody else who is important...

  • Comment number 64.

    In any case, Nick, you've failed the Mandy (Rice-Davies, not t'other one, not that there's a million miles between them) test. If there's a grain of evidence left after deducting the "they would say that, wouldn't they?" element, then there's a possibility of objectivity about it. However, such talk in an Opposition Christmas party is about as meaningful as the gobbling in a shed-full of turkeys. Unless you're arguing the case that Parliament is as plasticly manipulable as the rest of Nick Park's work, that is...

  • Comment number 65.

    "Labour have got the Tories where they want them, portraying them as the "do-nothing nasty" party."

    Is that they're/your campaign strategy then, Nick? Good luck; you'll need it.

    I'm not sure who keeps getting asked the questions in these polls where labour are only a few points behind, but it's certainly not anybody I know. I've yet to meet a single person who doesn't want to kick labour out for several generations as soon as possible.

    I don't think a trillion pounds of debt and general negligence on every front and a leader who doesn't understand basic maths/economics is a good sign that labour would win.

    Only labour/BBC believe the "Brown saved the world" line; if/when we finally get the chance to actually elect who's in power will we be able to prove the point that he's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy.

  • Comment number 66.

    So we may shortly have a choice between

    The "do nothing" party


    "do nothing but party"

    I think I'll have the first thankyou.

  • Comment number 67.

    I've got my fingers crossed that Crash doiesn't bottle this one too. Please, please, please give us a chance to boot him back to Scotland

  • Comment number 68.

    I agree, Brown hasnt got the courage to do it.

    Every time he has gambled before, he has lost spectacularly.

    He nailed his colours to the ERM mast before we got kicked out of it.

    Sold half our gold reserves at an all time low.

    Less said about the PBR.

    Then there was last years election that never was.

    Im inclined to think that he will do a Major and drag it out all the way to 2010. Mind you, at least Major had a public mandate as PM, which Brown hasnt got.

    And, I wouldnt rule out him invoking the Civil Contigencies Act either to postpone any election til further notice.

    If I'm wrong and he does go for it, if he gets in again, I'm going to ask for Political asylum in Iraq. Its got to be better than this!

  • Comment number 69.

    Labours only sensible strategy is to try to minimise their time in opposition.

    All their time from now to the election will be spent setting booby traps to try to ensure that the new tory government have as hard a time as possible.

  • Comment number 70.

    Interesting developments.

    I commented on yesterdays blog that there was no hope for 2009.

    With todays hint of an election campaign, suddenly there might be...

    Irrespective of the result, we'll at least get a fresh new mandate for whatever direction the UK pursues in its attempt to drag itself out of the recession...

  • Comment number 71.

    Having resigned Campbell and Mandelson, I can see GB signing up Vince and romping to victory. Maybe a Clinton-like campaign involving TB too - I can see it now - the Tories haven't a hope!

  • Comment number 72.

    Economically speaking, I think that the tories winning (and soon) is the only chance of us getting out of the recession before the uk economy collapses entirely.

    With labour in charge most people have no confidence in anything because they know the people at the top are running an active scorched earth policy.

    You're not going to spend any spare money you have when you know labour will raise taxes very soon but still not bother to do anything about public spending/efficiency, so with labour policies there's no way we'll get out of this mess ever; it'll just get progressively worse until it collapses.

    If the tories got in then there would at least be some hope that they'd try to repair the damage rather than to exacerbate it.

    Psychologically I think the tories getting in would signal a point where a lot of people would say:

    "phew, we can now start to repair the country rather than just making it deliberately worse, it's not all fixed, but at least we can now try to fix it."

    and that psychological tipping point could turn around the recession quicker/better than any amount of extra money being borrowed by the government would.

    So, bring it on; let's have an election asap before Brown completes his scorched earth policy.

    After all, it's about time that we had a leader that was actually elected in some shape or form and not just a delusional despotic idiot in charge.

  • Comment number 73.

    The Tories should be worried. They're bereft of any coherent alternatives to Gordon's cosmic borrowing, taxing and spending binge.

    Unless and until a brave politician tells the voters that we MUST transfer resources (people) from the huge, bloated, wasteful, unproductive public sector (Labour's client state) to the wealth-creating, productive, profit-making, tax-paying private sector (staggering under the monumental burden of funding the client state!) then we'll continue on our trajectory towards basket case economy.

    Perhaps it will only be when unemployment hits several millions and our communities start to implode that a good politician will step forward and the voters will see sense.

    Meantime, I fear that the Labour Party will be on the bridge steering us relentlessly towards doom! "We saved the world ...". Are you kidding, Gordon?

  • Comment number 74.

    @46 chrisleopard

    Are you blind?!! A win for Labour under these circumstances would guarantee the complete destruction of our country. We would all be reeling for far beyond a mere 12 years.

    I can only assume you've got a nice fat early pension waiting for you...

  • Comment number 75.

    And the world looks just the same
    And history ain't changed
    'Cause the banners, they all flown in the last war

    I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around me
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    No, no!

    I'll move myself and my family aside
    If we happen to be left half alive
    I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky
    For I know that the hypnotized never lie

    Do ya?


    There's nothing in the street
    Looks any different to me
    And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
    And the parting on the left
    Is now the parting on the right
    And the beards have all grown longer overnight

    I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around me
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    Then I'll get on my knees and pray
    We don't get fooled again
    Don't get fooled again
    No, no!


    Meet the new boss
    Same as the old boss

  • Comment number 76.


    The odd time I read your blog, its always the same angle to try and paint your NU-Lab buddies in a good light even amongst the utter carnage they've created and where ever possible spin a bad light on the Tories.

    Well if I was you, I would get the CV ready because it won't only Brown, Mandelson etc who will be out of a job in the next 18 months. You and Peston in doing the bidding of this wretched government, will no doubt have made powerful enemies in the Tory party who will no doubt make a sharp correction to the personnel at the BBC news team. And not before time!

    The shame is that Brown will not call an election before June 2010 because he has no chance of winning at all, so will stay to the bitter end. Most of these opinion polls are not really reflecting the carnage that will hit NU-Lab on election day. Such is the national dislike of these liars and crooks that there will be a very high poll turnout which will probably see a record amount of Tory MPs elected.

  • Comment number 77.


    The BBC have done a good JOB at putting

    the Conservatives up as the "DO NOTHING


  • Comment number 78.


    The odd time I read your blog, its always the same angle to try and paint your NU-Lab buddies in a good light even amongst the utter carnage they've created and where ever possible spin a bad light on the Tories.

    Well if I was you, I would get the CV ready because it won't only Brown, Mandelson and co who will be out of a job in the next 18 months. You and Peston in doing the bidding of this wretched government, will no doubt have made powerful enemies in the Tory party who will no doubt make a sharp correction to the personnel at the BBC news team. And not before time!

    The shame is that Brown will not call an election before June 2010 because he has no chance of winning at all, so will stay to the bitter end. Most of these opinion polls are not really reflecting the carnage that will hit NU-Lab on election day. Such is the national dislike of these liars and crooks that there will be a very high poll turnout which will probably see a record amount of Tory MPs elected.

  • Comment number 79.

    73. The problem they have is that the public sector is so big that it's employees make up a significant chunk of the electorate. Standing on a platform of well publicised cuts, even if it's just the penpushers who'll be cut, would be suicidal. Their strategy was to say little about it now and then when in government start to cull the quangos and seeks cuts in admin and red tape. Now they need to find a different way, I'm sure they know what they'll do but there's no point going public because if it's good, Brown will just copy it.

  • Comment number 80.

    One other thought.

    If there's an election early in 2009 and Labour were returned, they'd presumably have another bite at the Budget in the spring, and they wouldn't necesarily feel obliged to do everything they promised in the Autum Statement, as the election would be nicely out of the way and there would be no pressure. They could manage the crisis exactly as they saw fit...

    VAT for example, could perhaps go to 25% on 1/1/2010. That wouldn't surprise me in the least if we'd had the election, and I might even agree it was sensible, given the size of the national debt and the impact on the pound...

    There are definite advantages for them (Labour, not us the electorate) being re-elected early on the back of this Brown bounce. They'll have a lot more room to manoeuvre, and many more levers to pull once the election is done and dusted...

  • Comment number 81.



    ICEBERG i see NO ICEBERG;" The

    fundamentals of our ECONOMY ARE


    Whatever Mr Robinson?

    How much cash are you giving??

  • Comment number 82.

    And yet again, if they were, Vince Cable just put another shot through their hull. Per Hansard (1748 Monday):

    Dr. Cable: Before I move on to deal with the big economic issues, I want to say a little about one aspect of pensions. One thing the Government need like a hole in the head is another administrative disaster like the loss of computer discs, but I am afraid that they have one with public sector pensions. I was rung up 10 days ago by a journalist from Radio Ulster about a story that she had picked up regarding a company called Xafinity Paymaster, which pays out public sector pensions to former members of the armed services and the national health service, among others. She understood that this company had been paying out excessive public pensions, probably to hundreds of thousands of public sector pensioners, and that this error had just been discovered, and that the company was about to start retrieving the money from the pensioners. I made inquiries of the Government, and last Thursday had the courtesy of a telephone call from the head of the civil service, who confirmed that this problem had arisen. He asked me not to publicise it for several days in order to give the Government the opportunity to inform the pensioners personally of their difficulties—I think that I have now abided by that. He said that tomorrow, a written statement would be made that would explain the background to the problem.
    As the House does not have the opportunity to respond to a written statement, I thought that it would be more useful to mention the subject this afternoon and to pose the obvious questions, to which I hope that the Minister who concludes the debate can reply. How many people are we talking about? How much money is involved? What steps will be taken to retrieve the overpayments? I understand that in some cases those overpayments go back decades, and are potentially enormous. I do not know the answer to those questions, and I hope that the Government will clarify them. I hope that none of us will face the possibility that large numbers of ex-servicemen will suddenly be faced with bailiffs turning up and asking them to repay overpayments, as we have already seen in the appalling instances involving tax credits. I simply ask for a proper explanation of what has happened.
    Mr. Darling: I half expected the hon. Gentleman to intervene earlier. There will be a statement tomorrow, but I want to clarify one of the points that he made. He was asking about repayment of money that has been wrongly paid. I think it would be better if I made it clear that that will not happen. It will be necessary to adjust what is paid in the future, but the Government recognise that there have been such payments for a long time. I would not want people to think that we will start clawing back money that has been paid erroneously. Things need to be put right from next year, and there will be a statement tomorrow by the Cabinet Office.
    Dr. Cable: I thank the Chancellor for that clarification. I am not sure about the reference to adjusting what will be paid in the future, because that could mean returning to the normal arrangements or it could mean a clawback. We will no doubt receive clarification on that.

  • Comment number 83.

    Interesting analysis.

    When Brown was bottom of the pops he said (and Ill quote here) What I want to do is show people the vision that we have for the future of this country in housing and health and education and I want the chance, in the next phase of my premiership, to develop and show people the policies that are going to make a huge difference and show the change in the country itself.

    But now someone thinks that he might be top of the pops (doubtful me thinks) I hear that there might be an election.

    Well if he does call one then we will then know for sure why he called of the last one wont we.


  • Comment number 84.

    Mr Robinson,

    I know many people on this blog call you by your first name, but really, as a professional reporter, even as a biased one, on your blog you should call your hero at least Brown or otherwise Gordon Brown, Mr Brown or Prime Minister Brown.

    Of course Labour will try and seem the best of friends with Obama, but in addition to the inconsistency that Brown in this case wants to team up with a novice, there are more salient points to make:
    -The US policy to pile debt on overindebted consumers, here car loans and credit cards, has very limited chance of success.
    -The monetary base in the US is expanding very rapidly already, hence with even bigger budget deficits than now the US seem to be setting themselves up for hyperinflation following the trough.
    -In the US a 10% consumer retrenchment will result in a 5% to 6% drop in GDP (as consumption accounts for 60% of GDP). A stimulus will not be able to offset this shock although it could prevent the worst of the worst outcome, but with hyperinflation in a few years looming.

  • Comment number 85.

    Mr Robinson, maybe you can ask your hero (Mr Brown for me) why the US are not as much in a pickle as the UK is. Could that perhaps be because US consumers were not spending all their disposable income but still managed to save a mere 2%/3% of it recently and because US money center banks had far stronger balance sheets at the end of 2006 than UK clearing banks?

    PS: Still waiting for the answer to the question why Brown ran a budget deificit when the economy was groing above trend

    And a free history lesson: 1956: UK debt to GDP ratio 146%, Swiss debt/GDP 58%, since 1956 UK inflation has totalled 1700% compared to 330% in Switzerland. 12.2 Swiss francs to the pound in 1956, 1.76 now.

    Happy to live outside the UK although I might get a call from your ambassador!

  • Comment number 86.


    He's not blind, he's one of the Rebuttal Squad. Professional wind-up merchants, trolls, astroturfers, spinners, oxygen theives... call them what you will. All adds up to the same thing.

    Expect CEH, Balhamu, RantingGAD, et al coming along any minute now.

    Nobody, but nobody, unless they were being handsomely rewarded for it would vote for another 12 years of this guff.

  • Comment number 87.

    Please do not get my hopes up. I saw Go-Don in Afghanistan on the news what a pathetic figure he cut definitely no Gordon Pasha.

    Who says there will be an election? The way these people think it would not surprise me if they told us that for our own good it would be better if they put the election of until these times of crisis were over. After all they know best what we need they have not been aligned to the communist party for all these years for nothing. Don't forget Go-Don has already laid out his five and ten year plans how he's even legislating for 2050 how bl@@?Y arrogant. he cannot meet his short term goals on emissions but he will hold future governments to task to make them do what he can't.

    Gormless will not go anytime soon as there is nothing for him to do once he's gone. would you give him a job running your finances? I think not heaven forbid that he should get a seat in the Lords don't let him in Dave.

    Sorry people but the last voting day in June 2010 is when Gravity McCavity we be of if there is another election.

  • Comment number 88.

    If Brown does let this talk of elections spin out of control I would have thought he would have to go for it whatever his thoughts or lose support.

    The Tories and Lib Dems must know that Labour are getting away with murder in terms of whether Brown "saved the world" - or helped to ruin it. The Labour record has so many open goals (Iraq, 10p etc). So in an election that would get highlighted and must be worth 5-10%.

    The Tories should do an electoral pact with the Lib Dems as then their victory would be assured. The Lib Dems are not natural Tory allies but when you have Labour shamelessly exploiting the public ignorance of their responsibilities for the economic crisis (and previous crisies) perhaps they could be persuaded.

    Then we would be rid of cosmetic policy-making and spin.

    Fools gold Labour.

  • Comment number 89.

    If all else fails, I'm going to nip around to Alexander Curzon's place and smoke whatever he smokes ....

  • Comment number 90.

    Predicted politics, Hmmmm!

    Is young Dave up to the challenge? does he have the bottle to lay his bare plans before the electorate? me thinks not!

    OTTH, the labour party are comfortable with their direction and of course election are there to be won and lost.

    I sense a growing sense of unity and strength and the mettle of the British people will unite under the banner, that it's better to do something.

    People count! all people count!

    If democracy speaks! then let it say! that labour are the only party with a peoples plan.

  • Comment number 91.

    I think December's retail sales figures will be important in any decision to go to the country in February 2009.

    If they are up on Dec 2007, it can be claimed that the reduction in VAT has worked and provided a fiscal stimulus to the economy. However if they are down, then the game is up.

    Its a dangerous gamble though, a foot of snow on the day and will the labour voters in marginal constituencies turn out as much as they would on a nice Spring day.

  • Comment number 92.


    First, things can only get worse. After all, the chancellor and Tessa Jowell let the cat out of the bag yesterday when they said the recession would be deeper here than elsewhere.

    Have you been authorised to say that, isnt the official line still that the UK is best positioned to wheather the global crisis.

    Wait till Mandlseson gets hold of you... you little turncoat.

  • Comment number 93.

    A lone silly voice amongst a sea of reason. People want a change not a stagnant, backward looking helping of more of the same.

  • Comment number 94.

    I think it would be a mistake for any PM to think current conditions will guarentee them victory.

    Though I do think there may be a case of going now, losing and letting the next guy take the blame.

    However, surely a PM never wants to leave No. 10?

  • Comment number 95.

    It has been clear since Mandelson and Campbell regained control of the news agenda, and hence the timetable, that Brown was amenable to an early election. So far, the government's response to the recession has been entirely political, not what is in the best interests of the UK economy.

    There is no doubt that every week next year will bring more and more job losses, and with each lost job, a diminishing prospect of success in a General Election for the Labour Party. Add to that the fact that the Tories are at their weakest for some time, without a clear set of policies or a strategic framework for dealing with the current crisis, and I think if Brown wants a chance to win, he has to go quickly.

    I suspect he will ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament the week after they return from the holiday recess, and aim for a poll in mid February. They will be calculating that since Glenrothes, the risks of big losses in Scotland have significantly diminished and when it comes down to it, a pact with the LibDems will see them back in government.

    It is politically the right thing to do.

    For the population of the UK, however, it will be utterly disastrous.

  • Comment number 96.

    #60 and others

    Re: proportional representation and those that have mentioned hung a parliament.

    I've posted this before on a previous blog.

    A hung Parliament is not the answer. Apart from it probably taking weeks to form a government, it would simply give power to a minority party (most probably the Lib Dems, although one or more of the NI parties could make a difference), as they will be able to dictate to whoever they make a coalition with...i.e. do what we say or we'll force an election!

    Proportional representation is basically the same...the last election in this country at which one party won more that 50% of the vote (needed for a majority in PR) was in 1931!!! Hardly a good indication for the future! So we'd continually end up with a coalition and the minority party/parties basically in charge. Hardly democracy!

    As has been seen in europe, both produce weak governments and regular elections (sometimes multiple ones in a year). As much as it pains me to say, I'd rather have a strong Labour government than a weak coalition.

  • Comment number 97.

    Unless there is another cataclysmic event I cannot see a General Election being called before June 2009.

    I still believe October 2009 and March 2010 are the best alternatives open to Labour.

    What LHQ will balance will be the effects of global recession against the impact of the measures they have put in place.The core electorate are not politically minded,nor are they economically intuitive other than in their purses or wallets.

    The key indicators will be very closely scrutinised e.g the electorate will be oblivious to the economic factors behind 2% inflation or lower,2% base rates or lower,3.5% svr mortgage rates or lower - all those figures are attainable and can be "spun" to the electorate to look good.If a cap can be kept on unemployment - below 2.5m and on reposessions - below 1992 level that too can be spun as (a) not as bad as the early 80's and 90's and also (b) crucially not as bad as doomsday Dave has said.....ITS ALL ABOUT election - the real world and real world economics are a side show...

    Politically - Brown has stewardship of G20 - and providing he is still seen as an asset then yes Obhama will be used,as will Sarkozhy and Bruni....

    other factors to consider.....the PBR crucially focussed on AB voters,low earners,families with children,OAP's - all benefitted from (a) index linked inflation in September of 5.5% giving them propoertionately a real time increase as inflation falls - real increases and additional benefits being paid and also those benefits being paid from January and NOT April....

    Crucially - too - and politically...lets consider one other possible own goal to benefit the Labour Party....Council Tax...

    In those KEY marginals in the Midlands and the North West - the c-change since 2005 and 2001 is that local Authorities are now Conservative controlled or Conservative run with of the few policy commitments from CHQ and Cameron has been a council tax freeze if the Council increases annual council tax by 2% OR LESS....

    WITH A SPECTRE OF INFLATION IN aPRIL BEING AROUND 2 TO 2.5% - and bearing in mind Camerons pledge - and with a CUT in central Government funding - woe betide any local authority that increases Council Tax by say 3% OR MORE....especially if they are Conservative run in a marginal....Mandy will have a field day....

    And if they cut council tax increase below 2% BUT Cut services - espcecially Social Services or services to Old and Young....again a field day for Mandy and the Spin doctors....

    So - I have a hunch for June 09....if the inflation/base rate/standard variable mortgage rate/unemployment/reposession stats look as outlined and crucially if the Council Tax comes in to play...

    These are merely my political thoughts....I'm not advocating this - not backing this - but if I was a political spinner - targetting the 50 or so marginals that will DECIDE the next General Election....thats precisely what I would be focussing on - and Brown may just have the window he is looking for - at this time!

  • Comment number 98.

    We all know that Gordon Brown was desperate to take over from Tony Blair, he saw it as his right.

    He did not dream of the job as a noble cause to right wrongs and serve the United Kingdom, he saw it as his reward.

    As he struts the world stage his thoughts are not on the welfare of us all but the boosting of his reputation. You can see the workings of his mind as clearly as if they were writ large on his forehead ''The Tories must be hating this''

    His non answers in Parliament and in interviews betray the man for what he is. He and his Cabinet of Westminster Village groupies are doing all they can to cling to power at any cost. No freedom is too precious and no principle too great to be sacrificed at the altars of spin and gerrymandering.

    The last thing the country/economy/business/banking needs now is an election.

    To call one because you think it might be winnable before the brown stuff really hits the fan, is to put the country at further risk for ones own sociopathic political gain.

    To rattle the sabre and use the BBC to test the water (take a bow Nick) is even worse.

  • Comment number 99.

    Remember what Brown wrote in the Evening Standard in 1992, those days when the opposition were still allowed to comment on the currency and when the opposition said the government should not complain about commentary made abroad:

    "It's no good the Government blaming a referendum campaign in France or a whispering campaign in Germany for the crisis of the last fortnight. People will ask why it is that when there are problems in Germany it is the pound that is hit, why when the French go to the polls it is the pound that comes under pressure, and why when the Bundesbank leaks, it is the pound that the speculators target. The reason is that a weak currency arises from a weak economy which in turn is the result of a weak Government. A Government unwilling to introduce an industry strategy and unwilling to take the measures necessary to bring us out of recession will leave our economy, and our currency, weak."

    PS: Sterling by now has fallen to levels below those in 1992. How flash is that? Expecting your ambassador any second now!

  • Comment number 100.

    Another giveaway budget in April , troops home from Iraq, claims of having beaten the recession , then an election in late May or early June, hopefully when some of the perceived Tory voters might be lulled into a false sense of security. If the polls are awfully bad however, he will show his yellow streak again and try to hang on for another year.


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